Main battle tank T-80U was developed in 1985 in Soviet constructor bureau Nr.3 (KB-3, general constructor N.S.Popov) in result of modernization tank T-80. It was serially produced in Kirovsk plant, Omsk transport machine building plant and Charkov city Malishev's name plant.
Tank T-80U has classic composition usual for earlier soviet tanks. Engine and transmission compartment is placed in the rear part, driving compartment - at the front part and combat compartment - in the middle part of the tank.
Tank has welded hull and moulded turret. There were realized a number of constructions in hull and turret to higher tanks defense from usual destruction means. Hull and turrets front parts are made as a combined armor with additionally placed built-in Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) modules, which cover more than 50% of the front, lateral and turret roof square. Hull sides are covered with rubber anticumulative sideskirts with steel plates in the front part. T-80U armor defense against cumulative projectiles is evaluated in about 900 mm homogeneous armor steel and 1100 mm against undercaliber. According that main battle tank T-80U is protected almost from all massive anti-tank cumulative projectiles and significally protected from armor-piercing undercaliber projectiles in traverse range of + 35 degrees.
It's defense is also increased by constructional decisions such as silent gas-turbine, additional electric aggregate GTA-18A which in some situations can be used in stead of main engine, thermosmoke equipment and smoke grenade launchers 902B "Tuchia", retrench equipment and hardpoints for hanging mine trawl.
Vitality in the battlefield is provided by new fast-working automatic fire prevention equipment 3EJC13 "Inei", turrets dynamoelectric which is more fire safe propulsion instead of electrohydraulic, and positioning the biggest part of ammunition under the turret.
T-80U is armed with 125-mm smoothbore gun-launching device 2A46M1. Gun is fitted with dual axis stabilizer 2JE42, thermal sleeve. Gun has built-in gunners sight's correction system and fast dismountable barrels connections allowing to change it in field conditions without guns dismantlement.
Armament contains armour-piercing undercaliber, cumulative and HE-FRAG (High Explosive Fragmentation) projectiles. There can be also used guided anti-tank missiles 9M119 with guided missile complex 9K119 "Refleks" (NATO codename AT-11 "Sniper"). Guided missile has the same dimensions as an ordinary projectile and is automatically loaded from ammunition carousel. Missile has cumulative warhead laser beam guided system and can be also used against low flying helicopters. In 100 - 4000 m distance hit probability is 80% and 70% in 4000 - 5000 m.
Tank has modern fire control system which allows gunner and commander separately select targets and destroy chosen targets in all weather and day/night conditions and on the move. Gunner has dual axis stabilized sight "Irtish" with built in laser range-pole, missiles control channel and sights calibration with gun device. This sight allows to detect "tanks" type targets in 5000 m range. For firing at night gunner uses combined active-passive sight "Buran-PA" with stabilized sighting field.
Beginning from 1992 tank is fitted with "Agava-2" thermovision sight which has longer targets detection and recognition range also in limited visibility conditions. Tanks commander uses this sights special channel.
Main commanders observation, firing and target positioning device is stabilized in vertical axle aiming-observational day and night complex PNK-4S. Commanders devices allow him to recognize the most dangerous target to aim independently from gunner and to destroy target.
Tanks ballistic computer automatically chooses adjustments in range, target's side speed, personal side speed, guns elevation range, barrels channels wear, atmosphere temperature and pressure, side wind.
T-80U additional armament consists from 7.62-mm coaxial machine-gun PKT and 12.7-mm anti-aircraft machine-gun NSVT, which is mounted on the roof on one of the three connection pionts.
In engine-transmission compartment placed interchangeable complex consisting from multi-fuel gas-turbine diesel engine GTD-1250 with 1250 h.p.(till 1990 there were placed GTD-1000TF with 1100 h.p.). Engine is made like monoblock and can be changed in field conditions in three hours.
Mechanical transmission consists from three planetary aggregates. Every of them turns on gear box, reduction gear and hydro-servo movement control reduction. Transmission provides four forward drives and one backward.
Every side has six bearing rolls with rubber bandages and aluminum discs and also five supporting rolls with internal amortization. Bearing roll suspension is individual, torsion. Driving wheels are placed rear. Steel track has rubber metallic knuckle and rubbered running track.
Maximum road speed is 65 - 70 km/h. Cross-country abilities are: slope - 32º, vertical step - 1 m, ditch - 2.85 m, ford unprepared - 1.8 m, ford with preparation - 5 m.
Tank has Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) protection. It pressurize crew's compartment and send filtered air slightly increasing pressure. Increased pressure prevents passing radioactive dust. There are special external and internal lining from hydrogen polymer with additional lead, lithium, boron also local defense shields from heavy metals for radiation prevention.
For internal communication T-80U uses ultrashort wave radio set R - 173. For internal usage it has internal radioset.
In beginning of 90-ties in Russian army was adopted variant of T-80U command version T-80UK which is additionally fitted with optic-electronic counteraction system "Shtora", ultrashort wave radio set, navigational device TNA-4-3, autonomic 1 kvt power electro-generator AB-1-P28. Tank is produced by Omsk transport machine building plant.
Further T-80U evolution are Russian tanks T-80U-M and T-90 and also Ukraine T-80UD and T-84.